Category Archives: Lehigh Football

Lehigh at New Hampshire Playoff Preview: The Granite State’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams

"The Engineer football team once again showed their supremacy over the Yankee Conference leaders by defeating the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats, 16-3," read the October 26th edition of The Brown and White in 1979.

LB Jim McCormick intercepted a UNH pass early in the game, and returned it to the Wildcat 4, setting up an early touchdown.  After that, the Engineer defense would take over, crushing UNH's offense the rest of the way.

That would be the last time Lehigh has won at Cowell Stadium - 1979, a year where Lehigh was one of four teams in the I-AA playoffs and made it to the championship, ultimately falling to Eastern Kentucky in the finals.

So much has changed since then.  The I-AA playoffs have been renamed the FCS playoffs, and not have 24 teams instead of 4.  The Yankee Conference essentially was renamed to the Atlantic 10 Football Conference and now the CAA football conference, morphing from a Northeastern-based conference to one whose center of gravity is Virginia.  New Hampshire went from a championship contender to a perennial FCS playoff powerhouse, seemingly guaranteed a slot in the playoffs every year.

But what hasn't changed much for Lehigh over the course of these last thirty-plus years is that Cowell Stadium has been Lehigh's boulevard of broken dreams.  The Mountain Hawks beat UNH in Bethlehem in 2013, it is true.  But up in the Granite State, it's been a different story.  Since that epic 1979 win, Lehigh has been 0-7 up there, and not one of the games have been close.
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Lehigh At Holy Cross Game Narratives: Mountain Hawks/Crusaders Coverage Nationwide

Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Florida.  South Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia.

No, this isn't a list of Power 5 opponents that are suddenly going to be hosting Lehigh and Holy Cross in football the next few years.

It's a list of just a few of the many states across the country that will be carrying the TV broadcast of the Lehigh/Holy Cross clash.

It's going to be airing on something called the American Sports Network, which isn't a network in the broadcast sense but more of a network in the Internet sense: a network of interconnected stations, some over-the-air broadcasts, some local cable stations, that will be carrying Lehigh football over their airwaves.

If you live in PA, all you need to know is the game is going to air on CSN-Philly, CSN-MidAtlantic+, WHP-2 Harrisburg, WPNT-2 Pittsburgh, or WSWB-2 Wilkes-Barre.  If you live somewhere else in the lower 48 states, a full list of broadcast outlets can be found here.

It adds to the tension of what is already a big game this weekend.
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QUICK RECAP: Record-Smashing Day At the Yale Bowl As Lehigh Beats Bulldogs 63-35

It came as a big surprise to the press box, the fact that senior QB Nick Shafnisky would not be starting versus Yale.  

Sophomore QB Brad Mayes, who had seen time on the field as a freshman, trotted onto the Yale Bowl's grass field to start the game instead.

By the time he'd left the Yale Bowl's playing field, he and the Mountain Hawks would have put their marks on a whole lot of Lehigh and Yale Bowl records.

Combined, Lehigh's and Yale's 70 points would be the most ever recorded in a half of football at the Yale Bowl.  Lehigh QB Bob Aylsworth's record 454 passing yards in the Yale Bowl, broken.   The all-time team and individual Lehigh records for passing yards in a game, broken.  All-time touchdown pass record, tied.  Most points scored by an Andy Coen-coached team, broken.

Number of extra points in a game?  Tied.  Number of passing touchdowns in a game?  Tied.  Most points allowed by Yale at the Yale Bowl?  Tied.

It was a 63-35 win that, incredibly, was still in doubt at halftime when a second half 21-7 surge would allow Lehigh to pull away and the records started to pile up, one after the other.


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Game Preview: Monmouth At Lehigh, 9/27/2014

A lot can change in a week.

At least that's what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.

Frustration abounds in Mountain Hawk Nation in their 0-3 start, and no matter that two teams they've played, New Hampshire and James Madison, have displayed that they are Top 25 caliber teams.

It can't be used as an excuse that Lehigh seems to be the opponent circled on every team's schedule, either.  That's part of being at Lehigh: you always have the target on you.

Monmouth (2-1), too, will have a very large target on Lehigh's back, after last years' narrow 28-25 loss to the Mountain Hawks and will undoubtedly have looked at the national defensive rankings at the FCS level and seen Lehigh's squad ranked 120 out of 121 total non-transitioning FCS teams in total defense, beating only Columbia, who has only played in one game this season.

But a lot can change in a week.  At least that's what Lehigh players and fans are hoping.
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Before Looking Ahead, A Peek At Lehigh’s "Achievements"

(Photo Credit: Bob Cornell/Colgate Sports Information via the Morning Call)

There will be an entire week to get ready for the 149th meeting between Lehigh and a certain school from Easton.

But it's worth taking a tiny peek back at this weekend's game - just a tiny one - to see how far this team has come.

This Lehigh team has gone through a multitude of challenges this season, on the field and off.

And it's a true "achievement", no matter what happens this Saturday, that this team is in a position to win the Patriot League the final weekend of the year.
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2012 Mountain Hawks of the Year

Out of 128 seasons of Lehigh football, only ten teams have enjoyed ten victories or more, and the 2012 chapter of Lehigh football was one of those ten rare teams.

Most of the ten victories did not come easy, which, combined with the perception of a weak schedule, had to be the reason why Lehigh was the first 10 Division I-win school since the expansion of the playoffs to 20 teams to be denied a playoff bid.

That shouldn't take away from the great accomplishment of this 2012 Mountain Hawk team, however.

There is plenty to celebrate from 2012, and plenty of good things to write about. 

The cardiac 28-26 victory at sold-out Liberty, in front of nearly 20,000 intense fans, before the Flames would end up being Big South co-champions. 

The heart-stopping wins against Fordham, Holy Cross and Georgetown, which all came down to the last play. 

And, of course, falling behind 21-10 early to Lafayette in the 148th version of "The Rivalry", before roaring to a 38-21 victory and shotting out the Leopards for three consecutive quarters.

For this last post of 2012, we celebrate the wins one more time, and unveil the Hawks of the 2012 season.
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Hate the Gate Top Games No. 5: Colgate 35, Lehigh 6, 11/4/1922

In honor of "Hate the Gate" week, I thought it appropriate to look at some of the Lehigh/Colgate games over the years and talk a bit about some of the highlights.

"Hate the Gate" was a term first accredited to LB Tom McGeoy the week before the Colgate game back in 2006, and while the rivalry aspect of this game is a more recent phenomenon, driven largely by Patriot League championships and FCS playoff berths, the first-ever meeting of these two squads came on a cold, November afternoon in Binghamton, New York.

It would be the only meeting of the pride of the Lehigh Valley and the pride of the Chenango Valley before the modern era, back in a day when a barnstorming college football team was a critical tool to recruit general students, not just athletes.  The trip to Binghamton was a recruiting trip for both schools, but the Maroons, as they were then known, were aiming quite a bit higher than the Brown & White when it came to football at that time, and it showed.
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Water Cooler: Tackling ALS

Last week, before the Lehigh/Princeton game, I stopped in to check on a friend, who just happened to be at the Rust Pavillion.

FB Brett Snyder, a hero of mine, was there to raise some funds for his ongoing effort to beating ALS, a disease he was diagnosed with nine years ago.

Never one to shy away from challenges on the football field, after being given only 18 months to live eight years ago, Brett never gave up, and today he's still fighting.  I was thrilled to be just a very small part of the celebration and fundraiser this past Saturday.
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So where’s the recap?

Here's the deal, for those that care.

* I did not go to the season opener, because I went to visit family this weekend.  I may talk about this a little in my "Sunday Word", though I'm not sure.

* I fully planned to watch the entire recap of the game on Lehigh's Stretch Internet site and compose my recap from that and my other usual sources.  However, it appears like Stretch Internet has mangled the on-demand broadcast, so that when you go on Lehigh's site it comes up with just audio, and no video - in effect, making the broadcast utterly worthless to me.

* I don't feel comfortable writing a recap from the one from Lehigh Sports, nor do I just want to crib from the Express-Times and Morning Call.  So, I am waiting for the video to come available before writing a recap.

The recap, and my "Sunday Word", will be coming as soon as these things become available.  Though I have to admit that it's tempting to make my "Sunday Word" "nothing", because that's what I have in regards to this weekend's game.  And trust me, it's killing me.


Hawk Squawk: Tom Bianchi

(Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun)

It still seems weird that, with all of Lehigh's offensive prowess from last season, their thrilling FCS playoff victory would some down to that rarest of scoring plays, a safety.

Yet there he was, senior DE Tom Bianchi, in position to give Lehigh a lead they wouldn't relinquish in their 40-38 shutout win - and he executed.

In my "Hawk Squawk" series, I talk with Tom about the safety, and the upcoming season.
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